Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti
Singer/pianist/composer Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti have been featured in each other's projects for almost a decade, with Elizabeth being the vocalist and pianist for Michael Occhipinti's The Universe of John Lennon, and Michael touring as a member of Elizabeth's group promoting her albums MONtreal and The Signal. Their new duo album, due in Spring 2021 under the name ESMO, is now finished and the two are scheduled to tour the summer festivals in 2021.
ESMO's recording started in June of 2019 as the two entered the recording studio at the Banff Centre For the Arts to record the songbook they've built up over years of touring. The completed album includes songs by Canadian legends such as Leonard Cohen, Bruce Cockburn, and Gordon Lightfoot, as well as the music of Stevie Wonder and forgotten Toronto soul legend Jackie Shane's "Any Other Way." Michael and Elizabeth have also already started working on a new and very different second album, which will consist entirely of original music, much of it started this past summer when the two bubbled together with their families at Elizabeth's home in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec.
Michael Occhipinti’s guitar work has been called “miraculous” and paired with Elizabeth’s unique cool and soulful delivery, the two have received a dozen nominations for Canada’s Juno Award. Able to perform intimate shows as a duo, or large festival stages as a larger group, Elizabeth Shepherd and Michael Occhipinti are now looking forward to their post-Covid 19 touring They were supposed to tour western Canada in November 2020, and just released an online concert sponsored by the Kimberley BC Arts Council and Studio 64. You can watch it here.
A rare gig! On Friday September 11th Elizabeth and Michael, joined by drummer Davide Direnzo, did a performance at Toronto's Jazz Bistro, only recently re-opened and doing safe, distanced, Covid concerned shows (notice the plexiglass on stage and no tables in front of Elizabeth). Here's the livestream they did for set 1: